20 March 2013

Bikini Battle Basics- Obstacles and Asteroids Explained!

Bikini Battle Basics is a new series here on TheMetalBikini.com where we dissect certain game mechanics to aid in understanding and promote effective application. In short, it's stuff you need to know, but is somewhat obtuse or hard to understand and warrants further discussion, but don't fit directly into a category like Listbuilding, for example. 

Obstacles and Asteroids

All right. So first, technically, yeah- asteroids are obstacles in X-Wing Miniatures. I just figured if I titled this post, BBB- Obstacles, folks wouldn't know what I was talking about as everyone in my neck of the woods simply refer to the tokens as asteroids. Currently, they're the only obstacles, but that may change down the road, obviously. 

Obstacles are discussed in the X-Wing Miniatures Rule Book towards the back on page 20. There's really only a few things you need to understand about obstacles- initial placement, effects on ships that collide with them, and effects on ships trying to shoot past them. Like in real life, they can have some devastating effects on your game if you're not careful. 

Initial Placement of Obstacles
Initial placement is simple enough- in most dogfight games without special house rules, specific tournament rules, or scenario rules, you and your buddy each get three and you take turns placing them starting with the Imperial player (note I'm not leaving off a bit about initiative that's usually there, it's not mentioned in my rules; just says "Imperial Player"- you'll see why in a sec.). The only rules here is that you can't place an Obstacle within Range 1-2 of any edge of the play area. After you're finished with placement, the Rebel player gets to choose which side of the table he deploys from. I find lots of references on forums regarding setting up asteroids to make it tougher on your opponent. It makes me wonder if these folks know something I don't, or they've forgotten the bit about the Rebel player getting to pick his table edge.

Obstacles and Maneuvering & Actions
As you'd expect, Obstacles affect ships that overlap them kinda like when you overlap another ship. Ships that execute a maneuver where either the ship's base or the movement template overlap an Obstacle lose their Perform Action step and have to roll an Attack die. If that die comes up a hit or crit (local parlance), then the ship suffers that damage (as per usual- against shields if they have them, against Hull if not, etc., etc.). One thing that bit me in the KRT- if you mange to land your base on top of one of the bigger Obstacles, you'll likely hit it again when you attempt to maneuver off of it because your template will overlap the Obstacle again, which of course triggers the usual effects I just mentioned above again

Note the main thing that trips folks up here (including me at the KRT) is that it doesn't have to be the ship's base doing the overlapping- if you lay down a movement template and it overlaps the Obstacle, you invoke the penalties for bonking into one. I totally thought it only mattered if my base hit it, but nope- template too!

Also notice that you don't move your ship back along the template if you overlap an Obstacle like you do when you overlap a ship. Your ship still executes the maneuver you picked on your dial (or was picked for you by an Ion). I've seen folks mess this up too. Don't be that guy

Another thing I see that confuses people is whether or not they can use Actions if they hit an Obstacle. The text says you lose your Perform Action step, but what effect does that have on Free Actions, pilots that get an Action Token if they pull a particular maneuver, or pilots who dish tokens to other ships? 

If you look it up, the Perform Action step is step 6 of the Activation phase which the rule book describes as: 
The ship may perform one action. Actions provide a wide range of benefits and are described on pages 8-9. A ship with one or more stress tokens cannot perform actions (see Stress on page 17). 

So what's that mean exactly? 

Well first, you can't declare an Action with that particular ship this turn. Doesn't matter if it's out of your Action bar or something you've bought as an upgrade. That part pretty much everyone gets right, but it can get complicated really quickly with Free Actions and Action Tokens being passed around, so what's the story?  

If you're dished an Action Token, like a Focus from Garven Dreis or Lando, or a Target Lock from Dutch Vander, you're home free right off the bat. Remember what I talked about in the Multiple Actions, Single Actions Explained! article? Most of that applies here too- namely the part about spending an Action Token not actually being the Action. Same goes for guys who get a token if they do a particular maneuver, incur a Stress token, etc. Just be aware that some movement methods (like Boost) don't actually allow you to execute that movement into an Obstacle, so it may actually be a moot point in some specific cases. 

What about Free Actions though? Like if somebody with Squad Leader is flying around near the guy who dinged the Obstacle? Can he pass along a Free Action? The answer here is yes. Remember a Free Action is simply an Action that doesn't count against the "one Action per turn" quota, but the rest of that sentence (from the top of page 8) reads, 

"If an ability allows a ship to perform a "free action" this action does not count as the one action allowed during the Perform Action step." 

Long story short, if a Free Action doesn't count as the Action in the Perform Action step, then it doesn't happen in the Perform Action step (usually, it happens in somebody else's Perform Action step than the ship that ends up being the recipient of the Free Action). A little bit of reading into the rule there, but that's what the official FAQ says, so that's how it works. 

EDIT: Wanted to add some content to this section from feedback in the comments below. 

A question was asked regarding Barrel Rolling and Obstacles with some Squad Leader Free Action thrown in for good measure. 

To answer this question brings up some other good points about Obstacles and Actions (as opposed to Maneuvers), so I wanted to highlight it a bit here. 

First, to answer the questions- No, Yes. 

Here's why- 

No Attack roll gets made to see if the TIE damages itself for moving off the Obstacle because the whole template overlap trigger deal only happens with Maneuvers, not Actions. As Barrel Roll (or Boost, for that matter) is an Action, that criteria doesn't apply here. To answer a possible derivative question down the road, no, there's really no way an Attack roll could happen because you can't legally Barrel Roll (or Boost) if your ship's base is going to end up on an Obstacle- you just pick another Action (if possible) to perform instead. 

Second part, the TIE can now fire because the rules reference being on top of an Obstacle in the Combat Phase for that ship. As the TIE in AMike's question has moved off via the Squad Leader Action from Vader (which must have happened before the TIE's Combat Phase because of Vader's Pilot Skill 9- i.e. when he'd have passed it) and is no longer overlapping in the Combat Phase, he's completely free to Attack another ship this round. xad5xhytg  <-- my oldest just ran up and hit a bunch of keys on the keyboard while I was writing this. 

Big ups to Rules Gangsta and Bikini Aficionado Marty Ellenberger for keeping a brotha on point. 

Obstacles and Combat
First, understand that an intervening Obstacle (just like ships), even one that denies you line-of-sight, never completely denies you a shot on your target as long as you're not touching it. I've seen some folks claim they're completely obscured by an Obstacle- not in this game you're not. We ain't playin' 40k here, boys- no camping!

What does happen is the defender can possibly get an extra green die if the shortest path between the base of the Attacker and the base of the Defender (i.e. the Range Rule) overlaps an Obstacle. If that happens, the Defender gets a green die. 

This got FAQ'ed a little bit in reference to the width of the X-Wing Miniatures range ruler. If it's an issue, like the ruler only partially overlaps the obstacle, turn the ruler on its side and use the skinny edge to draw the shortest path between the bases and see if you overlap, and use the rule as appropriate.  

Last bit, and really I'm just drawing attention to something I just mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago- if you're overlapping an Obstacle in the Combat Phase, you can't attack any ship. However, and I've seen people miss this second part before, so pay attention, the overlapping ship may be targeted as usual by other ships. 99% sure we played this wrong at my local FLGS Kessel Run as I seem to remember me attempting to do this on purpose to deny shots and hopefully force a fly-by of the TIE Swarm I was facing. Karma works though- I lost my last Hull point on the collision with the asteroid. 

So there ya go- simple, right? Now go play!